Saturday August 17, 2019

Koshur language – Carrying forward Kashmiri culture

0
//

By Harshmeet Singh

There aren’t many better examples of India’s diverse culture than its linguistic diversity. The country is home to 780 languages with over 120 of them holding the ‘official’ status. But the other side of the story is that India currently heads the list of UNESCO’s world’s languages in danger. The constitution, in its eighth schedule, lists 22 languages as the official regional languages in the country. This series of articles is an attempt to focus on these 22 languages, their pasts and present, and cherish our linguistic diversity. After discussing about Assamese and Bodo in the previous write-ups, today, we shift our focus towards the Kashmiri language or Koshur.

Popularly known as Koshur, the Kashmiri language has over 5 and a half million speakers in India, with most of them residing in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The language is also spoken by over 1 lakh people in Pakistan, most of whom migrated to the country from the Kashmir valley. Kashmiri is one of the most prominent Dardic languages.

koshur table

In fact, Sir George Abraham Grierson, the Irish civil servant who conducted the Linguistic Survey of India, famously wrote, “Kashmiri is the only one of the Dardic languages that has a literature”. He also said that the Kashmiri language is “an essential preliminary to any inquiry”.

Last year, with an aim to preserve Kashmiri language and culture, the Jammu Kashmir Cultural Confederation was formed after more than 50 small organizations carrying a similar aim came together. Well known poet and the Jnanpith award winner, Prof Rehman Rahi was appointed the chief patron of the confederation while acclaimed writer Ghulam Nabi Khayal came on board as the patron.

Kashmiri was first introduced as a medium of instruction in schools in the 1950s. But it was soon banished owing to an inelegant script. As a result, like most other regional languages in the country, Kashmiri has also witnessed a steep decline in popularity over the past several decades. To arrest the decreasing popularity, the state of J&K made the language a compulsory subject in all the schools of the state till the secondary level in November 2008.

Kashmir’s modern history has been burdened by conflicts. A number of locals in the state of J&K also accuse the central Government of neglecting the state’s indigenous culture. Maybe by helping in preserving Koshur and the Kashmiri culture in the state, the Government would be able to convince them that it wishes nothing but the best for them.

 

To read more in this series –

Bodo Sahitya Sabha – Trying to revive the language

Assamese – a bright spot in Indian regional languages scene

 

Next Story

Fake News on Jammu and Kashmir Fanning Hatred

The hysteria unleashed on social media contributed to a shift in India’s focus from fighting cross-border terrorism to bringing the pilot back home, according to experts

0
India Polls, Fake News, Millions
Reaching out to the old people, who are newly getting introduced to smartphones and social media is a challenge. Pixabay

As an information war broke out amid continued lockdown of Jammu and Kashmir following abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5, fake news originating from the rumour mills in different places around the world including Pakistan have gone into overdrive to sow seeds of discord among security forces and fuel hatred among citizens of India.

From allegations of rift between the CRPF and Jammu and Kashmir Police to falsely showing scenes of 2018 Kulgam blast video as “massacre” being carried out in the region, rumour mongers are leaving no stone unturned to build public opinion against India.

Fact-checking website Boom on Monday revealed that two graphics attributed to news channel ‘Mirror Now’ claiming the Indian government has banned animal sacrifice in Kashmir, is fake.

Mirror Now’s editor Faye D’Souza tweeted that the graphics were photoshopped.

The journalist whose photo and name can be spotted in the viral graphic is currently reporting on the floods in Kerala and not on Kashmir, Boom said.

Another fake message planted on social media alleged that a “Muslim Kashmiri policeman shot & killed five Indian CRPF personnel in a ‘blue on blue’ attack after they refused to let a pregnant woman by because she didn’t have the curfew pass. Things on edge since that attack.”

Both the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Jammu and Kashmir Police on Monday dismissed the messages of rift among security forces deployed in Jammu and Kashmir.

“The malicious content of this tweet is absolutely baseless and untrue. As always, all the security forces of India are working with coordination and bonhomie. Patriotism and our tricolour lie at the core of our heart and existence, even when the color of our uniforms may differ,” the CRPF said in a tweet.

India Polls, Fake News, Millions
These news forwards, many of which contained fake news, surged during the election time as well. Pixabay

The Indian government is contemplating legal action against media outlets for reporting fabricated and baseless news relating to developments in Jammu and Kashmir.

Attributing “facts” to foreign news agencies, a few media outlets claimed that the Valley witnessed a large-scale protest and violence on Friday.

Earlier, prominent Pakistan news daily ‘Dawn’ went to the extent of claiming that over 10,000 people have gathered in Srinagar staging a protest over revocation of special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir.

Experts warn that Indian social media users need to exercise caution while sharing news as they may become victim to psychological warfare controlled by foreign powers.

Also Read: LG Unveils Teaser of its Second 5G Phone with Dual Screen

Similar information war was waged after the Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman’s plane crashed in Pakistani territory on February 27.

The hysteria unleashed on social media contributed to a shift in India’s focus from fighting cross-border terrorism to bringing the pilot back home, according to experts.

“In such a case when self-regulation becomes ineffective, it will be a good idea to come up with specific guidelines which should govern the behaviour and the acts done on social media during important moments of our national interest,” Pavan Duggal, one of the nation’s top cyber law experts, had told IANS. (IANS)